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Remembering Tom Danby OB – England Rugby and Great Britain Rugby League’s oldest surviving international

11 Jan 2023

Upon returning to School this week, we were saddened to learn of the passing of Tom Danby OB over the festive break, at the age of 96.

Born in Trimdon Village, County Durham, Tom attended Barney from 1938-1944 as a Flounders scholar who excelled in rugby, laying the foundations for a successful career across both codes of the sport.

His first taste of rugby was during a school training session when he covered for the 2nd XV’s injured Hooker, dominating the scrum throughout and, impressively, he was selected for the 1st XV at the age of 13 the following session.  

During his union career, Tom represented Gosport, Durham City, Harlequins, the Army, Combined Services, Durham and Hampshire, leading to an England call-up for a Test fixture against Wales in January 1949.

Six months later, he switched codes to league and signed for Salford as a Winger where he made 174 appearances, scoring 61 tries. In 1950, he resumed his international career, representing Great Britain and England three times apiece, before his retirement from the sport in 1954.

After retiring from rugby, he embarked upon a teaching career, spanning more than 30 years in Devon.

At the time of his death, Tom was the oldest surviving member of a Great Britain rugby league side and England Rugby’s oldest surviving international player.

Everyone at Barnard Castle School expresses their sincerest condolences to Tom’s family and, as a School community, we will continue to remember his inspiring lifetime achievements – both on and off the pitch.

Tom Danby OB

10 August 1926 – 26 December 2022